MERS is a virus that causes coughing, fever, and sometimes a fatal, pneumonia-like complication that accounts for its near one-out-of-three fatality rate. MERS is a coronavirus from the same family as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). If you remember the SARS scare, this virus killed about 800 people worldwide after first appearing in China in 2002. Since the discovery of MERS, there have been 572 cases of it in 15 countries, with a death rate of 30 percent. When compared to SARS with its 9- to 12-percent mortality rate, MERS is beginning to receive global attention.